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Funding to develop new breast cancer treatment

Published: 20 September 2022 at 12:04

External image of the public art on the Science Centre

ARU and aTen Therapeutics receive £283k in research funding from Innovate UK

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and aTen Therapeutics have together been awarded £282,740 to carry out research to advance a promising new therapy for breast cancer. 

The funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, allows scientists from ARU to work with Edinburgh-based biotech company aTen Therapeutics to accelerate the development of its novel human monoclonal antibody ATN-E11.

ATN-E11 targets the angiotensin-II type I receptor (AT1R) – which is overexpressed in a range of different cancers – and has already been shown to prolong survival in experimental models of cancer. 

This overexpression stimulates tumour growth and increases the ability of malignant cancer cells to invade and migrate. By blocking the receptor, ATN-E11 could become a powerful new cancer treatment.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer globally. With an estimated 2.3 million new cases in 2020, it accounts for 1 in 4 female cancer diagnoses and 685,000 deaths annually. 

There are several subtypes of breast cancer with different molecular and clinical features, including drug resistance, that dictate and limit treatment options, so demand for novel therapies remains high. 

Professor Chris Parris, Head of the School of Life Sciences at ARU, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with the aTen Therapeutics team to explore this exciting new approach to cancer treatment and we look forward to generating key data in the coming months. Our first target is breast cancer but the therapy could also be effective in many other cancer types.”


Ian Abercrombie, aTen Therapeutics’ CEO, said:

“We’re excited by the potential of our technology to extend and improve lives. The Innovate UK grant is a great endorsement of this potential and the hard work of our team in Edinburgh. We look forward to progressing ATN-E11 towards clinical trials, and ultimately providing a new treatment option for people living with breast cancer.”